Tuesday, December 30, 2008

weekly writing assignment

I have been a little lax lately with MamaKat's assignments. But lucky for me, this week's assignment coincides with a post I had planned for tomorrow. So all I had to do was move it back a day.

Several years ago, I was sitting down to write my annual Christmas letter and I just couldn't do it! I was in a pissy mood from a pissy year and everything I wrote sounded pissy. Then, when I tried to be more positive, I ended up overcompensating and sounding like a lunatic.

In my desperation to put something on paper, I decided to write a top ten list, and the
TOP TEN THINGS I LEARNED THIS YEAR was born. Here's this year's:

(and yes, I do tend to share too much in my Xmas correspondence. That's why people love me.)

Hello Everyone!

Well, 2008 has flown by and once again it is December. I’m still in Massachusetts, still at the same job, and still living in the Garaje Mahal. On the surface, it may seem like not much has changed since last year. But lots of subtle shifts add up to lots of change. And lots of lessons learned. So cuddle up by the fire and get ready for:


This should be a no-brainer. I can’t even watch mafia movies because they upset me too much. Casino, Goodfellas, the Godfather: couldn’t watch ‘em because of the violence. Yet, I still had this fantasy that I had a tough side. I let go of that fantasy this year. I could never whack somebody when I can’t even bring myself to kill a rooster. Oh, I hate him!

In 2000, I learned not to eat too much fruit before a marathon. I thought I would be safe with dairy at Myrtle Beach. Nope, not so much. Marathons, to me, embody “running” in every sense of the word. Next time -- pasta?

But, there may be no next time for marathons, because:

In May 2008, I ran a sprint tri in Hyannis and my outlook on life changed forever. Ever felt like you have been overtaken by forces greater than yourself? That’s how I feel about my infatuation with triathlons. (Though I will never do an Ironman. Let’s not get too carried away) In 2009, I plan on doing a half Ironman, though. (No dairy before hand)

I thought I would try to be a little more health conscious this year, with the above obsession and all. Trying to eat healthy and taking vitamins. Right before bed. I had pretty much resigned to driving myself to the emergency room at 3:00am after about 2 weeks of intense nocturnal heartburn. Then I spied the vitamin bottle. (Oh.) Since I changed the vitamin schedule, I only wake up when the rooster decides I do.

This came as a complete surprise. I thought I was possessed only by goodness and light. But on a trip to Montreal in October, I went on a “haunted tour“ and I learned that Satan smells like…eggs. I thought it was just my love of salads and broccoli that caused this smell to follow me around so. Turns out, the devil lives in my colon! Anyone know a young priest and an old priest?

This Halloween, I went out to a bar with some friends dressed as Princess Leia. It’s amazing how may pick up lines can be generated that include light sabers, “the force“, or a play on the name Princess Leia. It was a long night. Lesson learned.

Yeah, most girls master that one by age 13. Not me. But this year, I figured out that sneaker sizes and heel sizes are DIFFERENT! I couldn’t walk in heels because they kept falling off my feet! All I had to do was buy a smaller size. Better late than never. I feel so grown up!

Prior to this year, I had crashed weddings, bar-b-ques, birthdays, a Thanksgiving dinner, and a company Christmas party where I knew nobody (except the entertainment). This year, I took it to a whole new level by crashing not one, but two separate high school reunions to schools I did not attend for years I did not graduate. I think crashing may be my new thing. Maybe I’ll get a movie deal out of it.

Long story. Just trust me on this one.


Let’s just say: life is good and love is bountiful.


Monday, December 29, 2008


How did it get to be December 29th and I almost forgot to post this month's addictions? (Probably the same way it got to be December 29th and I looked at the corner of my windshield on the way to work and noticed that I forgot to get a new inspection sticker. I don't have time before Jan 1st because of my long work days. I am banking on the idea that cops will have their hands too full with all the New Years tomfoolery (excellent word, eh?) to bother with an expired inspection sticker. I'll take care of that on Friday) But, I will take care of the addictions TODAY.

And be sure to check out Brazen from whom I stole the addiction idea.

In December, I was addicted to:

I bought a big bag of walnuts and a package of dried cranberries and I have been eating them in absolutely everything! Oatmeal in the morning. Check. Turkey sandwich for lunch. Check. Salad at dinner. Check. Even a peanut butter sandwich in infinitely better with walnuts and cranberries sprinked in.

After my unfortunate eggnog incident earlier in the month, I got over it and decided to drink as much of this stuff as possible before it went away.

Just because.

Seriously, have there been more Tom Hanks movies on TV in December than ....ever??? I think there is an underground movement to replace Ralphie from "A Christmas Story" as the face of Christmas with Tom Hanks. Of course, I watched them all. Sleepless in Seattle, You've Got Mail, Cast Away, I even watched Bachelor Party!
(Incidently, even though it's supposed to be funny, I always get a little teary eyed when Ralphie snaps and beats up the bully. What a bad week he must have had to make him spew out all that profanity! I know exactly how he feels. I DO think its funny, though, that Ralphie's mom just walks off and leaves the other kid bleeding in the snow. Oh well.)

It's a good thing, too. Since my birthday is in December, I always get about 5 pair of flannel jammie pants for my birthday. Not to mention scarves, fleece vests, warm socks, and bathrobes. I could open a spa!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Artist's Way

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to see Julia Cameron speak at a holistic health conference. At the time, I had never heard of her. I went to the conference to see Deepak Chopra. But several people I knew had recommended going to see her speak.

She was, in a word, magical. I think it was fitting that the room in which she was speaking was, in fact, and old church. To just listen to her speak and look at the sun shining in through stained glass windows...magic.

To anyone not familiar with Julia Cameron, she is an author, screenwriter and poet amongst other things. But her true spark of genius, her passion, if you will, is her workshops to teach creativity. Most of us feel that creativity is something you're either born with or not. But Julia feels that creativity is something we all have, but have learned to repress. Her workshops go through a series of exercises aimed at rediscovering the creative spark we have learned to snuff.

SHe also has a number of books that mimic her workshops. I have, in the past, started the 12 week program in her book, The Artist's Way, but have never really gotten through. I think I got to week 9 a few times.

Anyway, I am going to open the book again in 2009. And to motivate myself, I'm going to dedicate one day per week on the blog to the Artist's Way. (It's like paying to go to a gym, where I HAVE to exercise to get my money's worth. Now the pressure is on since I have made the goal public. I HAVE to finish)

Plus, it might be nice to share the creative journey with other creative folks out there. What do you all do to ignite the creative spark?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

One of the most useful monthly goals I had in 2008 was getting rid of one thing every day for one month. It wasn't just the act of purging, it was the process of truly looking at my stuff, deciding what was important for me, and consciously deciding what I needed and what I didn't. Far from feeling like I lost 30 things, I instead felt like I gained space, clarity, and control in my apartment, my mind, and my life.
In 2009, I decided to take it one step further. I am striving to get rid of one thing every day for a year. It seems daunting, but I think once I get started, it'll be fairly easy. (Or, I hope)
It just seems like we all have so much STUFF. Even someone like myself, who regularly purges and tries to live simply, accummulates way more that he/she needs.
This is especially evident around the holidays. My sister in law started a tradition where her kids fill a box with toys they have outgrown or just don't play with anymore. They leave it out on Christmas Eve for Santa to pick up and redistribute the toys to other kids who will enjoy them more. It's a start. Then, there's J, who on December 26 was going through the plethora of matchbox cars that her 2 year old son had received as gifts from various people. She was removing all the cars made in China, since he tends to put the cars in his mouth and she's fearful of lead paint. SHe had seperated the cars into piles and was looking on the internet to determine their safety: "are toys from Malaysia safe? How about Japan?" She looked up at me and said: "You know, it would be so much easier if he got a lot fewer, higher quality cars. I feel bad taking them away, but really, he doesn't need all this."
That's the other side of the coin. In 2008, I had also said I was going to buy myself things that I just never buy for myself. I was successful a few months (high quality sheets, a nice bike) but then I just stopped. It just didn't seem like I should be buying things to treat myself when I was already drowning in stuff. Buying and purging could go hand and hand, though. Get rid of the stuff I don't need, and replace with one or two high quality items that I will really use and enjoy.
So on a weekly basis, in blogfest 2009, I will be documenting my progress in the journey to simplify my life. Wish me luch

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Safety Tip

Holiday Safety Tip From My 10 Year Old Neice:
"Whenever you ride a skateboard, you should make sure to wear
elbow pads, knee pads, a helmet, and Chuck Taylors."

Monday, December 22, 2008


Today is December 22nd. The one year anniversary of my bloggie. (And the first day the sun stays out a little longer each day)

When I started this journey a year ago, I really was just looking for a way to document a year of self discovery and growth. I wasn't sure if I wanted to share it with anyone. I wasn't sure if it was the stupidest idea I'd ever had. I wasn't sure I'd continue beyond my first entry.

Now, a year later, I find that both the blog and my life have taken off in directions I never could have predicted. I've fallen in love with triathlons, gotten a work certification I didn't think I would, and started venturing out with friends instead of hibernating every weekend. In blog world, I met people whom I now consider friends and sounding boards. I've understood completely different points of view from my own, laughed, cried, hoped, and celebrated along with people thousands of miles away from me.

Mostly, I achieved the one BIG goal I had wanted to accomplish this year: I found my way back to ME. I feel more like myself than I have in a long time, and I think blogging has a lot to do with this.

Over the next year, I'm planning on making some changes to my bloggie. Many are flagrant rip offs from other blogs I've read out there. (I hope that's ok) Some are just ideas that have been floating around in my head for a while. Overall, I envision specific themes for specific days with more room for participation from readers out there. To this point, I haven't put much thought or effort into customizing the blog template at all. Hopefully, that'll change as well. As well as more pictures and embellishments.

What won't change are the monthly goals, the push for self growth, and the snippets of sarcasm and humor.

Lots of plans, lots of expectations. Lots of excitement to see where things go next year. Come along, won't you?

Sunday, December 21, 2008


This week, I've been coming to terms with the fact that on Monday, I turned 39. THIRTY NINE! Thirty nine is tough because it is one year away from being WICKED OLD. It's not like turning 30 when you're only old in a teenager's mind. It's one year away from 40. Which is really, truly old.

The forties: when insecure men trade in the mini van for a sports car and get an ill-advised diamond stud in their ear. The forties: when insecure women botox and lift their faces until they resemble platypuses from outer space. The forties: when unfit men and women start having bypass surgeries and routine endoscopies. When if you are fit and bad-ass enough to make it to the Olympics, everyone assumes you are on more steroids than a race horse. That's one year away!

Generally, I'm not one of those people who have mini-breakdowns on my birthday. It's only a number, after all. The only other time I ever had a problem was when I turned 35. And that was the newspaper's fault.

I had been perusing an article that was discussing a new trend among clothing manufacturers: they were recognizing that if you didn't want to wear low riders with a thong and a baby tee, there wasn't much else out there unless you wanted to resemble a librarian. Since I had recently been on a clothing excursion and couldn't find jeans that would contain more than 50% of my pelvis or a Tshirt that didn't ride up to rib cage level if I lifted my hands up, I was in full agreement with this article. It's about time those clothing manufacturers woke up! It's about time they started targeting women "between 35 and 45". The problem was the title of the article: "Clothing manufacturers target middle aged women."

MIDDLE AGE???? I believe I stopped breathing for a full 90 seconds before I hyperventilated myself into a full fledged conniption. Then I cried for the rest of the day. (Ok, not really)

This time around, there's no newspaper article, just that number, looming on the horizon. And the thought of being WICKED OLD.

Then, on Saturday, I saw a beautiful sight. I saw the GQ magazine with the picture on Jennifer Aniston on the cover. Jennifer Aniston and the striped tie. She's 39. Almost 40.

If that's what 39 looks like, then I'm okay with that.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I stole this meme from Tutu-girl. I'm in a list making mood lately (even more so than usual) with it being 1) my birthday 2) the holidays and 3) the start of a new year. So any time I come across a pre-made list, I jump on it.

Things you’ve already done: bold
Things you want to do: italicize
Things you haven’t done and don’t want to - leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog
2 Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band - gotta dust off that guitar
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/World
8. Climbed a mountain - Mt. Shast and Mt. Washington
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo-- I can't sing
11. Bungee jumped -
12. Visited Paris -
13. Watched a lightening storm at sea.
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch. - I'd like to be able to paint and cook
15. Adopted a child.
16. Had food poisoning.
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty. - Maybe in 2009
18. Grown your own vegetables. Need to get my own place, first
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France -
20. Slept on an overnight train.
21. Had a pillow fight.
22. Hitch hiked. Young and dumb. Not anymore
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill.
24. Built a snow fort - today, actually.
25. Held a lamb.
26. Gone skinny dipping.
27. Run a Marathon -
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse.
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.
31. Hit a home run- in T-ball
32. Been on a cruise -
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person - my cousin lives there, now. I should go.
34. Visited the homeland of your ancestors - Ireland
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language. - Spanish, but I've lost most of it
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. Does money have anything to do with satisfaction?
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing.
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David -
41. Sung karaoke
43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.
44. Visited Africa-
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.
46. Been transported in an ambulance. - They make you do that when you total a car.
47. Had your portrait painted. That just seems weird to me.
48. Gone deep sea fishing. -
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain I'd like to do that again.
53. Played in the mud.
54. Gone to a drive-in theater.
55. Been in a movie That would be kind of cool
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class.
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen - Christmas in San Francisco
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching.
63. Gotten flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma-
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp -Don't necessarily want to, but feel I should.
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar - salty
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London
77. Broken a bone -do toes count?
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle -
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person. now I want to hike it
80. Published a book.
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car.
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper.
85. Read the entire Bible- years of Catholic school
86. Visited the White House.
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating --I'll stick with growing veggies
88. Had chickenpox. -
89. Saved someone’s life. -
90. Sat on a jury.
91. Met someone famous.
92. Joined a book club -
93. Lost a loved one.
94. Had a baby.
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit.
98. Owned a cell phone.
99. Been stung by a bee
Feel free to steal

Free Hit Counter

Done: 55
Want to do: 31
Don't necessarily want to do: 14

Maybe I should pick 5 or so italicized items to accomplish in 2009??

Friday, December 19, 2008

the best present ever

There have been a bunch of commercials lately doing a take on the "best present ever" idea. They show kids getting their Atari, a pony, the barbie beach house and then fast forward to today where their spouse or significant other presents them with a Lexus. Maybe funny the first time, but the second time? Shoddy. I don't care how much you want a Lexus. NOTHING compares to that BEST PRESENT EVER when you were a kid.

My best present ever was the Christmas I was 7 years old. Santa Claus brought me a two wheeled bike!!! It was beautiful. It was a blue Schwinn with a flowered banana seat and a white basket that had plastic flowers on the front. It had white hand grips with streamers coming out the ends. In my stocking, I got little colored plastic straws that you put on the spokes of the wheels. I was a very precise child. I divided the straws into colors, decided on a pattern, and laid the straws out so I could put them on the spokes in that precise order. There were more straws than there were spokes, so I could put a second straw on every seventh spoke. (Because I was seven years old) This took me the better part of December 26th. Which was a good thing, because it would be months before I could actually ride the thing outside.

I rode that bike every chance I got all spring and summer. It was the 70's, so it was not unusual to let a seven year old take off on a bike for hours on end with her friends. (In reality, I couldn't go past the hydrant half way down Bruce road, the empty lot on Montgomery Drive, or Kristen's house on Fulton Street. But it seemed like I had the run of the land) Shell's bike had a cool flag, Nikki's bike had sparkly pinwheel thingies on the handlebars, but my bike was the best. It had the best banana seat and I could carry stuff in my basket.

I don't think I've ever received a present since that gave me so many hours of joy. Or such a sense of freedom. From the endless hours learning to ride a two wheeler in the spring, to the races we had in the summer, to the countless scraped elbows and knees from falling off the bike; it was like I had been give a mem0ry-maker instead of just a thing.

This summer, I bought myself a bike for triathlons. I love my new bike. I feel like a little kid again when I ride it. But as awesome as my super lite ,carbon fiber, easy shift bike is now, it pales in comparison to my Schwinn. It was the best present ever. Thanks, Santa.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

So after Monday's birthday meltdown, I've been thinking that I really need to learn to be more assertive. Not aggressive. Not cranky. Not passive until I have a melt down. Just more assertive so that people don't have to try to guess what I'm thinking as if a crystal ball were standard workplace equipment.

I had wheelchair clinic today and I made the observation that a lot of parents of disabled children have a tendency to come on awfully strong. Awfully aggressive. I'm guessing its from years of being brushed aside and having be pushy to get their needs met. Generally, once they figure out that we are here to LISTEN (they are the expert on their kids, after all. And even though I have that adaptive technology certification and all, they have WAY more day to day experience with wheelchairs than me) Anyway, it was an interesting observation that when we don't feel like we are heard, we feel we need to get pushy. Or have a melt down.

The folks at the wheelchair clinic, of course, have a much greater excuse for expressing themselves in an aggressive way. I really don't have as much as an excuse.

Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to do, is after the much needed venting yesterday, is to accept my part of the blame. Maybe that should be on my list of goals for next year...become more assertive.

The big question is: HOW, exactly, do I do that?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

birthday meltdown

Yesterday was my birthday. ANd I had a melt-down. Not a melt down over the fact that I turned 39. (THIRTY F***ING NINE! HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN?) But a melt down over the fact that once again I got a giant load of work dumped on me. Work that was actually taken off of somebody else's schedule and put on mine even though he had 2 hours of free space in the afternoon and I had no free space, no paperwork time, and once again, no lunch.

I basically started hyperventilating and said "No. I can't do it. I can't. I am not going to spend 13 hours at work when I only get paid for 10. I'm sick of it. I won't do it." And stormed off. And stormed back. To get a patient to try to do some kind of treatment with when I was fuming and about to lose it all over again.

I am happy to report that when you have a complete melt down at work, people respond. The schedule has been completely redone and I actually have not only lunches for the rest of the month, but paperwork time.

Happy birthday to me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bah Humbug!

"BAH, HUMBUG!" ----Ebenezer Scrooge

Last week, I was a Christmas lunatic, dancing around in holiday glee with candy canes coming out of my ears. This week, I have done a complete 180. It appears that I was far too exuberant with my holiday cheer. The forces of nature have thus conspired to take me down a notch.Only, I didn't come down a NOTCH. Instead, I went from ecstatic to downright grinchtastic.

It started with the eggnog. I love eggnog! Well, not EGGNOG eggnog. Rather, fat-free eggnog. Which, I guess technically isn't really eggnog but rather eggnog-flavored-skim milk-with-some-kind-of-thickening-agent-mixed-in. Put that way, it sounds positively disgusting, but it's actually DEEEEE-licious! Plus, it's only available around the holidays. So on Sunday night, I picked up a festive half gallon for myself.

I didn't actually get a chance to pour myself a glass of the DEEEE-licous fake eggnog until Tuesday night. That's when I discovered that the carton had a tiny hole in the bottom. I did not notice this on Sunday night. I sure noticed it on Tuesday, though! Because every square inch of my refrigerator was covered in eggnog-flavored-skim-milk-with-some-kind-of thickening-agent-mixed-in. It took me about an hour to clean up.

So Wednesday, on my way home from work, I picked up another carton. This time, I inspected the carton thoroughly before taking it home. No holes whatsoever. I open the carton as soon as I got home and poured myself a tall glass of holiday cheer. Not. It had gone sour. Know what bad milk tastes like? It's exponentially worse with eggnog flavor and thickening agent thrown in. It's downright puke-a-licious! It took me about 4 hours to get the taste out of my mouth.

Then, there was my crapulous week at work. Normally, the population of Cape Cod decreases in December when the snow-birds drive south for the winter. Not this year. This year, they are all sticking around. It's busier now than it was in July! And to accommodate all the extra appointments, the scheduling team has been getting creative. Like scheduling appointments right through my lunch break three days this week! WTF? I mean, you have to manually override the scheduling program to do this, so how does somebody NOT notice I don't get a chance to eat not one, not two, but THREE days in one week? (Don't worry, I DID get to eat. But still!)

At the end of the week, I was tying up loose ends and looking forward to next week's schedule to plan ahead. On Tuesday, we are having a department holiday party in place of our usual monthly staff meeting. But on Tuesday, not only was I booked through lunch, I was booked straight through with patients during the staff meeting/party. How the heck do you block off everyone in the entire department except for ONE person? Did I inadvertently tick somebody off? What's the deal? I just sent an email to everyone on the scheduling team to FIX THIS and went home. Geez!

And then there are the parties. Normally, I am all about parties. They are fun. There is food. Everyone has a good time. The thing about parties, though, is that people drink. And sometimes when that happens, people say or do things they normally wouldn't.

I'll be the first to admit that Drunk Heather does some pretty annoying things. Drunk Heather falls down the stairs. Alot. Drunk Heather steals giant sheet cakes. Drunk Heather texts mildly inappropriate picture messages to her friends until they have to turn their cell phones off.

But Drunk Heather is never judgmental. Or condescending. And Drunk Heather never insinuates that others lives are less valid than hers because they are different. Of course, Drunk Heather is sometimes overly sensitive, so maybe sober Heather needs to let it go.

But there's still the lunch fiasco. And the eggnog. So I feel perfectly justified in complaining and making up adjectives to describe my emotional state.

I fully expect to be visited by three ghosts this week. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Reading other people's blogs today made me feel like I had some company. The general theme being: having a craptastic day.
I feel craptastic. I'm overwhelmed and overworked. And I just may have been lied to in a big way. Craptastic, I tell you!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

As part of my master plan, and also as a way to combat the holiday feeding frenzy that has officially commenced, I have upped my gym workouts as of late. The good news is that after only 10 days, I am starting to see some results. The bad news is, my body seems to be redistributing all of its extra fat to a 3 inch area right around belly button level. Like an inner tube.

Well, I did say I was getting in the Christmas spirit. I just didn't want to resemble a WHO from down in Whoville.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Holiday Spirit


This year, I am replete with Christmas spirit.

Usually, I am not. Usually, it takes me until around December 17th to get in the holiday mood. For whatever reason, this year I am like a shiny-nosed, pointy-shoed, sparkly clad lunatic.

It started the week before Thanksgiving. I had just worked a ridiculously long day and was grumpy, hungry, cranky mood as I drove home. I was angrilly punching at the radio buttons, grumbling that there was nothing on but commericals. Then, I came across a station that was playing...Christmas carols. "It's too early to start this!" I thought. I cannot possibly stand 6 weeks of Christmas carols. Then I cranked up the radio and happily sang along with the Grinch song at the top of my lungs.

The day after Thanksgiving, pulled out a box of Christmas decorations. "It's too early for this!" I thought. I left the box downstairs in the storage area until last weekend. Of course, I only brought it upstairs, I didn't actually unpack it and spread Christmas joy around the Garage Majal. But I thought about it. Happily.

Then, this weekend, it snowed. I didn't actually go out and run around in the snow, but I thought about it. I had some hot chocolate and sat on the sofa, watching movies all day. Thinking about the snow. Happily.

And today, as I trudged out to my car after another long work day, in the freezing, frigid, frosty weather, I wasn't grumpy. I wasn't cranky. (I was hungry) I was actually kind of glad it was cold, in a shivery sort of way. After letting my car warm up, I punched the button to the Christmas station, cranked up the radio, and happily sang along all the way home.

And I'm thinking of putting up the tree.

Happy happy and merry merry.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Today was K's birthday, and Slacker-Boy's last day back east. I got a quick workout in before work, then after work, had cake and ice cream.

It's been a great last few days, reminding me of the days when the four of us were inseparable, camping and going to the beach. It's good hang out with old, dear friends and tell your inside jokes that nobody else understands but make your intimate group crack up like there's no tomorrow.

We also made tentative plans...New Year's 2009 in Hawaii! Who knows if it'll materialize, but it's certainly fun to dream.

Monday, December 1, 2008

December's here!

How did it get so late so soon?
It's night before it's afternoon
December is here before it's June
My goodness, how the time has flewn!
How did it get so late so soon?
---Dr. Suess
It's December. Hard to believe that the year is ending. November fairly flew. In fact, September, October, and November all fairly flew. When I talk like this, I feel old. So, instead, I'll talk about my November goals:
1) Daily working on projects: that's about a half success. The first half of November was on preparing for an exam, the rest diving into the project box...sort of. I mean, I definitely made some headway, but not nearly the sucess of the decluttering from last month.
2) Listen to all those inspirational CD's: another half success. I listened to half of them. Not bad. Not great, but a little inspirational. Successful enough to finish the rest of them in December.
3) Books: half successful. (seeing a pattern here?) I read 3 books from my bookshelf and HALF of Three Cups of Tea. Why can't I read more than a few pages at a time? I actually like this book? I just can't seem to get into it.
4) Training: I have mapped out the triathlon training plan and reopened the triathlon blog.
5) Bust on the Turkey Trot. Too cold.
6) Movies: check. times two.
7) New towels. Half successful.
8) Certification: check
9) Got used to the schedule. love love love it.
December Goals:
1) Every day this month: I will REALLY drink 8 glasses of water. (it may help to wean me off the diet coke, too)
2) I will read: three more books from the bookshelf.
3) I will buy: as few Xmas gifts as possible. Not so much a nod to the economy as a thought I have had kicking around in my head for a while. Going to go the handmade route this year, hence the project goals last month. I, of course, will get something nice for the kids and I am committed to going in for theater tickets for my parents. But for everyone else, the gift baskets.
4) I am going to finish the CD's this month.
5) I am going to go to: the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. I've wanted to do this for so long, and I have never made it there.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


So here we are on the last day of NaBloPoMo and I suppose I should be reflecting or something like that. However, since I have been trying to do SOMETHING for 30 days each month this year, this month doesn't seem all that different.

I guess, like everything else, it just takes some commitment. Even on days I feel tired and have nothing to say, its just getting to the page and putting something down. Unfortunately, I do not really feel that this has inspired me to post any more creative blogs than usual. On the contrary, some of my posts this month have been just that, something to fill the page.

This has given me some food for thought though, as I gear down toward the end of year one of blogging and look forward to year two. In trying to be a bit more consistent, a formula of some sort seems to be key. Many of the other blogs I have visited have some great ideas: Wordful Wednesdays at SevenClownCircus, MamaKat's weekly assignments, more pictures, Brazen's addictions, bits of fiction, (and, of course, my own monthly goals)...these all contribute to a bit more fun. So I am pulling out some ideas that have been kicking around in the back of my head for a while. Maybe dusting them off and trying them out in the new year.

Keep posted and I'll keep posting!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Reunion of Dunces

This morning I woke up at 5:00 am to the sound of the rooster next door. Once I figured out that I was truly awake and not going to drift back to sleep, I then discovered that the room was spinning wildly out of control. I needed to get up and drink some water pronto to fend off the waves of nausea that were sure to follow. (That should give an indication of how the reunion-to the-school-I-did-not-attend went last night.)

If you have never crashed a reunion (which I'm sure very few besides me have) I highly recommend it. It's great to walk up to people and pretend you were in homeroom together for four years, in order to see them struggle to remember who you are. It's also great when people know you and say: "Wait. Did you go to school with us?" "No, I just had nothing better to do tonight, so I figured I'd swing by." "Oh. Ok. That's interesting."

Greater still, was the fact that I had a nametag that proclaimed I was Slacker-Boy's wife. There was a lot of: "Wait. I thought he was married to Slacker Girl." "Yeah, he is. She's in Washington." "Ok. So why are you here with him?" "Oh, I'm just filling in for her tonight." Slacker-Boy, of course, was sticking to his east coast wife/west coast wife line. There was a lot of strange looks over that one!

Aside from trying to confuse people, there was also genuine connecting with people with whom I played sports, or people who knew my brothers or people who knew my parents. And lots of beer. Every time I turned around, I had another bottle handed to me. And I kept drinking them.

At the end of the night, J and I stole the cake! There was a giant sheet cake that nobody touched. So J grabbed one end, I grabbed the other, and we ran through the parking lot to cram the cake in the car. Everyone there also seemed to think it was a great idea and aided and abetted us the entire way: holding the door open, offering to hold the cake while we fumbled for keys, or just cheering the two lunatic girls with the giant sheet cake.

This morning, we just looked at the gargantuan cake and said "What the heck are we going to do with this thing?" And just then, the phone rang. It was a friend who was working at a fund raiser for the Boys and Girls Club. He wanted to hang out with Slacker Boy before he went home. "Why don't you guys swing by the fund raiser?" He asked. SURE! And we will bring a cake!

So perhaps the funniest and greatest moment of all was arriving at a fund raiser with a giant, stolen cake and presenting it to the Boys and Girls' Club as a special gift from the Class of 1988.

We Rock!

Friday, November 28, 2008

not so black Friday

Oh, to have the Friday after Thanksgiving off work. That hasn't happened in...ok, I don't think its ever happened. But today...was great. Got so much done, cleaned, got a bunch done on my projects, worked out for an hour and a half, babysat for a couple hours. And now, I'm getting ready to crash a high school reunion to a school I did not attend. (for a year in which I did not graduate) That would make the second time I've done that this year. I think maybe I need some therapy.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble-gobble goo and Gobble-gobble gickel
I wish turkey only cost a nickel ---Adam Sandler

Did you know that if you sing this song to a flock of wild turkeys, they will run away really really fast? It's true. I've seen it.

Happy Turkey Day

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving List

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I figured I would write the obligatory "What I am Thankful For" post. In the spirit of Jeepgirl, I figured I would skip the obvious.

Everyone is thankful for their family and their friends, for their health and the kids in their lives. Everyone is thankful for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I am, too. I figured you all knew that already.

What you may not have known (but may have been able to guess) is that I keep a running list of things that I am grateful for. Not every day. Not even regularly. But every so often, I feel very thankful for...SOMETHING. And I write it down on the back page of my journal. (Yeah, I'm a dork)

So, here we go:

Non-Obvious Things I Was Thankful for in 2008:

1) Ball Point Pens
2) Port-o-Potties
3) Hot Tea
4) Xerox Machines
5) Sharpies
6) M & M'S
7) Hot Showers
8) Puffs Plus with Lotion and Vick's
9) Flannel Sheets
10) Ocean Waves
11) Oscillating Fans
12)Squashy Socks
13) Cotton
14) IPods
15) Ice Cream
16) Tortillas
17) Foam Rollers
18) Baseball Caps
19) Sleeping and Waking Up
20) Emails that make your heart skip a beat
21) Books
22) NetFlix
23) text messaging
24) Cool Max
25) the Red Sox
26)Ernest Hemingway

There. That's one for each day we've had in November. Maybe next year I'll have a list of 365. (this year woulda had 366. Leap Year There. There's one more for good luck)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Good news tonite: Isabelle is ok. Went for tests today and absolutely no Big C. So we both got to breathe a sigh of relief on each end of the phone line today.

Slacker Boy popped in for a visit and J, K, and I laughed our butts off. The bad thing is, we tried out a Japanese restaurant in town and it was terrible! I love Japanese food, but not at this place. So now, I'm trying to wind down and go to bed, but my GI tract has other plans.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh, the week of Thanksgiving! I always forget how ridiculously busy it always is. I spent my weekend putting together a great training diary and plan to begin today. Then I was at work for 12 hours and brought more work home with a pile still left on my desk at work. I think I gotta get up early and go before work tomorrow, as it'll probably be another 12 hour day tomorrow.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

check in

Time for check in, to see if I'm on track. Good to do that every now and again...

1) With the work certification out of the way, more time to work on projects. Again, the project progress is much more sporatic thatn daily, as I originally had planned, but I'm chugging away nonetheless. I've downloaded a bunch of recipes from the web for my recipe jars, started on the decorating, bought some ingredients. Still gotta get some baskets, finish decorating, get ingredients, assemble jars, and assemble baskets. But I'm making progress.

2) One series in the CD's is done, I'm two CD's into the next series. Not bad. Maybe I'm actually getting some inspiration.

3) Books: Finished the Shopaholic and Bud Wilson books. Still working on "3 Cups of Tea" and deciding on my next one. I think I may be the only person on the Blogosphere who isn't reading the Twilight Series.

4) Rather than focusing on the marathon, I have spent the past week honing my tri training knowledge. I'm just about done with my year --yeah, YEAR -- plan. This dedication thing is pretty intense.

5) Ok, I skipped the Turkey Trot. Way too cold. But it is supposed to warm up tomorrow. If it holds out, maybe I'll run on Thanksgiving.

6) Went to the movies AGAIN. Twice in one month! This has got to be some kind of record for me.

7) I have purchased new washcloths. Unfortunately, the store did NOT have hand towels or bath towels. So I've got to go back to see if they have the aforementioned articles in coordinating colors.

8) Took the certification exam last week. All I gotta do now is wait the 6 to 8 weeks it takes to get the results.

9) Still loving my schedule. But still very lazy on the weekends. I blame the cold.

So...in the remaining days of the month....focus on books, CDs, and projects.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Earlier in the week, I had planned on running in a Turkey Trot today. However, when the weather predicted temps of 18 degrees at race time (800 am) I decided that a treadmill looked much better. If I were doing a race in January, I would expect that temp. Not in November.

Instead, I had a jammie day. I got lots of cleaning, bill paying, and projects done. Then I went off to the gym. Finally, I stopped at a store and lo and behold: I found a nice pair of patent leather pumps in the clearance rack! SCORE! (and I have to say, shoe sizes are much more consistent than clothing sizes. A 6 is a 6 is a 6.)

So the turkey trot's loss was my feet's gain. Or something like that.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Shopping Woes

Today, I went shopping, looking for a dress to wear to Nerd's holiday party. I must admit that after checking out the restaurant's website, I was a little intimidated and my wardrobe looked sadly inadequate. SO off I went, with high hopes.

Here's my issue with women's clothing: NO CONSISTENCY WITH SIZING! Today, I tried dresses on that were sized 8, 6, 4, 2, and 0. (what the hell is a size 0? Doesn't that indicate an absence of size? As if I were an astral projection instead of a human being? The mere fact that I have a body made of matter would seem to indicate that I need at least a size 1!) The crazy part is: all of those sizes fit. Depending upon the store I was in or the style of dress, I could be any of those sizes.

Granted, the size 8 dresses were from stores I had no business being in to begin with. No matter how cute it looks from outside the store, I should never,ever, EVER venture into Wet Seal to try on a holiday frock. (Did I mention I'm 38?) I know that. But I was trying to keep an open mind. My open mindedness ended pretty poorly as the train wreck that I became in a Wet Seal sized 8 garment caused me to throw up in my mouth a little bit. So ended that experiment.

The sizes, interestingly enough, went down as the price of the garments went up. It's like, you too can buy a bid wad of denial. It actually comes FREE with that $200 sized 0 garment. I think I've heard it called "vanity sizing". Does that actually work? Do people actually think they are smaller because the tag has a smaller number on it? As if!

Cache looked like the store of choice for Mob wives. Ann Taylor Loft looked like the store of choice for future politicians. Macy's had only size 0 or size 12 and up, nothing in between. H & M was chock full of the itchiest clothing I have ever encountered. I have no idea what it was made of...hay?

Finally, I ventured into Banana Republic. I happen to know for a fact that Nerd got his holiday duds last year from Banana Republic so it may be a good match, even though it's a bit above my usual price range. I perused the racks, mindful of my past experiences with the Banana: their clothes tend to be designed for women shaped like Gwenyth Paltrow. (I am not.)

Here's another interesting point: even in the same store, I could fluctuate 2 dress sizes, depending upon the style. If it was a bit more flowy up top and more fitted at the bottom, I was rocking the size 2. However, I tended to look like a big rectangle. (not the look I'm going for) If it was more fitted at the top, jump up 2 sizes.

After a day of trying on approximately 43 dresses, I learned at least one thing (beyond the whole sizing fiasco): when looking for a dress for me, it's all about the boobs. Find something that fits the ribcage and accentuates chest and I'm golden. Or in this case, plum.

Of course now, I need to find shoes. I'm exhausted just thinking of it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I have to just say, firstoff, that I am a giant fan of R.I.C.E. A day off from the gym, ice packs, a compression sleeve while I slept, and an extra pillow, and my elbow was as good as new.

Next, I am going to jump back on the bandwagon that I fell off of and complete MamaKat's assignment for the week.

The prompt I chose is: "The last time I laughed really hard was..."


On Sunday, I had two of the funniest phone calls I've had in a while. After I got off the phone, I reflected back on the calls and thought: "Are you f-ing kidding me? This is my LIFE! I'm supposed to be almost 40 years old and my life resembles a teenager's!" Then, I laughed some more and was grateful for the ridiculousness that is my existence. See if you agree:

Phone call #1: from my friend, Slacker-Boy who lives in Washington state.

Slacker Boy: Are you going to go to the high school reunion?
Me: Hmmm. Seeing that I did not go to that high school and I did not graduate that year, I'm thinking...NO.
SB: I was thinking you could be my date.
Me: Your date? Who the heck brings a date to a high school reunion?
SB: Well, I need to look cool.
Me: How come you're not bringing...your WIFE?
SB: I thought I could tell everyone I have a west coast wife and an east coast wife.
Me: That's AWESOME! Oh, wait. You're talking about me. That's TACKY!
SB: No, go back to awesome. I don't think it's tacky at all.
Me: Seriously, though. Why aren't you bringing Slacker Girl?
SB: We couldn't afford plane tickets and reunion tickets for the both of us.
Me: Dude, I really think you both need to get real jobs already. But, yeah, I'll be your date.
SB: Ok, maybe you should go shopping. I've seen the way you dress. I want my east coast wife to look GOOD!
Me: Loser!

Phone call #2: From Nerd. Nerd's been sick so I haven't really seen or talked to him in a couple weeks.

Nerd: What are you doing December 13?
Me: Nothing. Why?
Nerd: Nothing? Are you sure? Are you in front of your calender? Do you absolutely know for sure that you're free on that day?
Me: Yeah. I have nothing going on. How busy do you think I am?
Nerd: Well, I was just saying. You can check and get back to me if you're not sure.
Me: I'm sure. What the heck is going on?
Nerd: That's the day of my company holiday party. I wanted to know if you wanted to go with me.
Me: Sure. I'd love to go.
Nerd: If you're not sure, I have a bunch of reasons why you should go.
Me: No. I'm sure. I said I'd go.
Nerd: Reason #1: The people I work with want to meet you. And you didn't go to the company picnic I invited you to over the summer.
Me: I already had plans that weekend to go camping. That wasn't my fault.
Nerd: Reason #2: You really want to meet the people I work with, even if you don't know it. They are all exactly like me!
Me:Exactly like you? I find that very hard to be-
Nerd: They are all wicked smaht! ( picture Casey Affleck in Good Will Hunting )
Me: I'm sure they -
Nerd: They are all better looking than average. Way better looking. And they are all sexy as hell. They are all funny. With great personalities. They all have great hair. Not as great as mine, of course, but great anyway. Some people are taller than me, though.
Me: They are all humble?
Nerd: No, they're not humble! Why would they be humble if they are all just like me?
Me: I was just trying to -
Nerd: It'll be like being in a room FULL of Nerds!
Me: A whole room of Nerds? I don't know if I could handle that. My head might explode.
Nerd: No. Your head wouldn't explode. You'll be carried through the night on a wave of euphoria.
Me: Hey that sounds great.
Nerd: Reason #3: It's open bar.
Me: You know, I've already accepted the invitation. You don't need to keep listing-
Nerd: Reason #4: It's in a super fancy place. It's above the Bull & Finch Bar.
Me: Cheers? It's above Cheers?
Nerd: Extra points for getting the vague reference.
Me: Your Xmas party is at Melville's?
Nerd: HOLIDAY party! Let's be politically correct here! And double extra points for Melville's.
Me: Wow. That place is REALLY fancy. I might have to -
Nerd: With excellent food. (Reason #5)
Me: -go shopping.
Nerd: No, you don't have to go shopping. Just wear, you know, a nice dress with heels or something.
Me: Oh, and practice walking in heels.
Nerd: Aren't you a female over the age of 12?
Me: Last time I checked.
Nerd: Then shouldn't you already know how to walk in heels?
Me: Hey! Walking in heels is not like riding a bike! I need to practice before things like weddings or graduations or holiday parties at Melville's.
Nerd: Well, practice up. Because it'll be really fun. Reason #6:-
Me: Why are you still listing reasons? I already said yes. Are you used to being turned down or something?
Nerd: Um, hello! NERD!
Me: Well, I happen to like nerds. So you can stop listing reasons.
Nerd: Ok. Good. I'm glad. But make sure to practice in those heels. I want my nerdy date to look GOOD.
Me: Loser!

Oh, I love my life. It's so pointless.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Short post today. My emerging case of lateral epicondylitis took on a life of its own and left my left arm simultaneously numb and throbbing. I have decided to term it "Librarian's Elbow", as I do not play tennis (tennis elbow) and the throb intensifies any time I try to lift a book or medical chart with my left arm.

I'm laying low and resting the arm.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Good Read

Last night, I finished another book that had been hanging out on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. I found this book in the bargain section at Border's one rainy Saturday. The bargain section is my favorite area in any bookstore. It's like a treasure hunt for diamonds in the rough. I have found so many wonderful books in the bargain section that I otherwise never would have read. Yeah, I've gotten some doozies, as well, but the good to bad ration is generally in my favor.

I often wonder about the authors of those books that end up in the bargain section. Is that, like, the worst thing ever for an author's self esteem? Or do they know that there are people like me out there, just waiting to discover another gem from the bargain bin? I hope they know.

This book was one of those gems. It's called "The Bud Wilson Dream Book" and its written by Barbara Kramer. I've never heard of her. But the title of the book caught my attention. I'm so glad it did. I usually hesitate to use the words "charming" or "delightful" to describe anything. (In my head, those words are tinged with a negative connotation, somehow inferring a lack of depth) But this book truly was both delightful and charming. It made me smile. It made me sigh. It was a nice read.

The story revolves around a woman in her late 50's to early 60's who has unexpectedly lost her husband of 30 years. Shortly after his death, she starts having dreams about Bud Wilson. Bud Wilson is a late night talk show host, a Johnny Carson type character. He has been on TV forever. Everyone knows who he is. When anyone has insomnia, it is Bud Wilson who they tune it to to keep them company.

On a whim, she places an ad in a large number of small town newspapers, asking if anyone has had dreams about Bud Wilson. She asks the respondents to send their dreams to her. She has a vague idea that maybe she can use this information to write her master's thesis that she has put off writing for 20 some odd years. But really, she's just reaching out, in her grief, to anyone who may have something in common with her.

Before she knows it, she has over 600 responses to her add and her little project on a whim takes on a life of its own. She ends up meeting so many different people and changing in subtle ways all from this project.

It reminded me a lot of blogging. How something started on a whim can generate friendships with people you never really meet. One of the things that struck me is how the character in the book tried to keep her "project life" seperate from her "real life". How she often didn't want her real life friends to read the letters or to even know what she intended to do with them. How she felt like they wouldn't understand. And how protective of her "project friends" she was: "Why does he want to meddle with my letters. They're MINE. Those people wrote them to ME"

Blogging is kind of like that for me. I originally started it with the intention of sharing it with family and friends. I had been sending out a weekly email bloggy thing to my friends for a number of months. I figured the blog would be just a way to keep all those emails in one spot and anyone could go back and read one if they deleted it or something.

Then something else happened. I got protective of my blog. I felt like it was my space to post and things that maybe I didn't want everyone to read. Then I made friendships with other people out there in bloggy land whom I feel rather protective of. And for some reason, I like keeping real life and blog life seperate. Yeah, I still do the emails. And yeah, the emails and posts are sometimes one and the same. But they are distinctly seperate.

A lot to ponder from the reading of this book. But made me feel a bit connected at the same time. So if you want a cute read that'll make you smile and sigh and maybe even think a little, check out "The Bud Wilson Dream Book".

Monday, November 17, 2008

Current Addictions

Ok, I can finally admit it:

I love the 5 current addictions idea from Brazen. I have officially made it a label for posts! I cannot believe that I initially misinterpretted this lovely idea.

And now, without further ado, November's Addictions:

Addictions: I'm addicted to the idea of "current addictions"
Goal Writing: Once I got that exam out of the way, I felt free enough to focus on the all-important self improvement idea. In addition to my monthly blog goals, I've been filling up paper journals with goals and goals and more goals. Whoo-hoo!
Holiday Prep: Ok, so I haven't actually gotten off my butt and DONE a whole lot of holiday prep. But it is consuming a lot of my brain. I'm working on getting a bunch of gift baskets together for gifts, doing a lot of crafty ideas to go into the aforementioned baskets, and getting some shiney new holiday duds for Nerd's super fancy company holiday party. (It looks much fancier than the hospital parties I'm so used to)
Sparkling Water: I'm SO trying to get over the Diet Coke addiction. Trying, trying, trying.
Hot Tea: As the weather gets colder and I try to curb my late night snacking, I'm finding hot tea to be my savior.

No news on Isabelle yet.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Good news and Bad news

Ladies and gentlemen: we have some good news and some bad news.

The good news is, Nerd and I seem to have wandered past the borders of Maybeville and into the burrough of Almost There.

The bad news is, my good friend, Isabelle, just received some potentially bad, bad medical news. She is going in for further testing on Tuesday. Please send good vibes and wishes and prayers her way.

I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

wasting time on work that could be spent on hobbies

Well, today I got up bright and early to drive an hour and a half so I could go take my certification exam for a work related dealio. Here's the thing: I'm all for expanding my knowledge and getting certified in areas that will help me become better at my work. BUT...(and, like mine, it's a big one) I don't like wasting my time. And I feel like this exam was just that. Out of 200 questions, about 4 actually related to the type of work I do. The rest did not. Yet, its a manditory certification for an area of specialty I work in. Does it make sense? No. But, you gotta do what you gotta do. So now that is done.

Once home, I put away all the study materials that have been strewn across my coffee table for the past month. And I busted open...The Triathlete's Training Bible!

THAT will NOT be a waste of my time!

Friday, November 14, 2008

One word answers

Yesterday I skipped my post for NaBloPoMo. But I thought I may post twice today, and that way I would still be in the game. (at least that is the way I am rationalizing it) I got this idea on Spleen's blog, and thought it was cute and revealing, too.

The idea is to answer each question with one work.

Where is your cell phone? sofa
Where is your significant other? maybeville
Your hair color? brown
Your mother? massachusetts
Your father? massachusetts
Your favorite thing? beach
Your dream last night? bizarre
Your dream/goal? travel
The room you’re in? loft
Your hobby? running
Your fear? failure
Where do you want to be in 6 years? abroad
Where were you last night? home
What you’re not? materialistic
One of your wish-list items? sleeping-bag
Where you lived? everywhere
The last thing you did? studied
What are you wearing? sweatpants
Your TV? background
Your pet? plants
Your computer? laptop
Your mood? anxious
Missing someone? yeah.
Your car? Jeep
Something you’re not wearing? shoes
Favorite store? REI
Your summer? rocked
Love someone? family
Your favorite color? smurple
When is the last time you laughed? today
Last time you cried? yesterday

Tag...you're it!

The first time

Today is the day after the first time I missed a post for NaBloPoMo. I was doing everyone a favor, though. I was very cranky. I blame my female-ness. So I did what I always do when I am cranky: I cleaned my apartment from top to bottom. Its nice and sparkly now, and my laundry is all done.

I am feeling better today. Due, in no small part to the fact that my place is clean and I have Fridays off. So life is good once again.

In the spirit of slacking, and since yesterday was a first time for something, I decided to complete my MamaKat assignment a little late with the prompt:

The first time I wrote a "top ten" list as my Christmas letter, I did so out of desperation. I am one of those people who believe in the art of the Christmas letter. It's important! I have a lot of friends with whom I was once very close, but now are what I call "Christmas card friends." I consider them my friends, I care about what is going on in their lives, but my ONLY contact with them is through Christmas cards. My one chance for contact in the year needs to be a carefully crafted, upbeat yet informative, inpired letter that says ME all over it.

Some people completely miss the mark with their Christmas letters. They rotely list the events over the past year and it ends up sounding like a quarterly report. Or they try to make their lives sound so perfect that it ends up like a Disneyfied version of reality.

I think the hardest thing to master is probably talking about your kids without sounding too braggy. I don't have kids of my own, and I can only imagine how hard that is too pull off. I have hard time not braging about my neices and nephews. Still, some people pull it off beautifully. Some do not.

I have one friend who missed the mark by so much that her letters are almost comical. One December, I said as much to M. He said I was being mean and grabbed the letter out of my hand. After reading it, he said: "You're wrong. There's nothing wrong with that letter. I, for one, find it fascinating that her 5 year old just graduated from college!"

Having set the bar so high for myself, I was having a terrible time constructing my letter one year. Work was not going well for me. I was in a supervisory position that I hated, the administrator of the facility where I worked was a bit of a psycho, and I felt like if I left, I would be a failure. This work stress was spilling over into the rest of my life. I had gained weight, wasn't working out as much as I was used to, and just felt terrible. Plus, I was feeling very homesick for the east coast. Any letter I started ended up sounding like a rant session. When I tried to keep my morose outlook out of the letters, I ended up with the quarterly report. Oh what was I to do?

I am a compulsive list maker. In complete desperation I decided to start by listing the elements I wanted to include in the letter. What happened this year? What did I accomplish? What good happened? What did I learn? Well, that's what it's all about, really, isn't it? What did I learn?

Then it hit me: if I can't write a Christmas letter (which I clearly couldn't this year) then maybe I could just write out a list. And "the top ten things I learned this year" was born. (with a tip of the hat to David Letterman)

What I didn't anticipate was how for the first time in years, I heard from my Christmas card friends before next Christmas:

"That was great! It was the only Christmas letter that I enjoyed!"

"Oh, when I read that, I could HEAR you saying each of the top ten things!"

"I called my husband up at work and read him that list over the phone!"

This year will by the 5th top ten list. (And this year, I have a years worth of blogs to pull my list from) Five years. Oh jeez. It's gonna have to ge a GOOD one, this year. That's a lot of pressure! I have to make sure its not too boring or not too Disney. I dunno. This year may be the first time I do something completely different for my Christmas letter.

I'll keep you posted

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I've been racking my brain for something witty to post. But its been one of those days. I think I'm gonna crawl into bed and just wait for tomorrow to come.
Sleep rocks.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Autumn Injuries

I have been lazy. During the months of September and October, I allowed myself to slack off on exercise, eat lots of junk, and drink alcohol. Surprisingly, I actually lost weight. Or maybe not so surprisingly...I tend to put on muscle very easily. So even though I lost weight, my pants are tighter and I'm looking , well, dumpy.

Early in October, I decided that enough was enough. I was going to get back to exercising. Only, I broke my toe. So I was resigned to the eliptical machine for about 10 days instead of running.

No sooner had I resumed running than I fell during a drunken dash across the yard. I spun around in midair and somehow managed to land with my full body weight coming down on my shin that was positioned across the oh-so-sharp edge of the step. I got a bizarre bruise that encircled my lower leg entirely. Two weeks later, when it was still discolored and tender, I concluded that I probably gave myself a hairline fracture on my tibia. It still throbbed any time I ran more than 3 miles.

Since I was spending more time on the eliptical and bikes than running, I decided to supplement my cardio with more intensive resistance training. That's when my elbow started to ache. I have given myself a case of tendonitis!

And today a patient forcefully (and accidentally) kicked me square in the shin, right where I had fallen on it 3 weeks ago. As I write, my lower leg is encased in an ice pack because it has swollen to approximately twice its normal size.

I am falling to pieces! My new goal is to get over my injuries.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bloggie Love

Yesterday, I got a little bloggie love from Diane and from Heather. The idea behind the "Proximity" award is that there are some blogs out there that make you feel closer to somebody out there. You may never meet this person in real life. It may a person whom you wouldn't have become friends with in the outside world. It may be a person you have very little in common with.

But this person is somebody who you check in on every day. Somebody you become interested in, somebody you wonder about if they haven't posted in a while. Somebody who, in weird way, you start to consider your friend.

I'm passing it along to:

Mrs. D: One of the first blogs I started to read on a regular basis. She is so down to earth and funny, she makes me laugh with her sassy take on life.
TutuGirl: The first comment I got was from TutuGirl. I love that she is so passionate about life.
Gazelle: Funny and inspiring. Whevever I feel like skipping my run to sit on the sofa, Gazelle's blog coaxes me into action.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Check in

Today, I awoke with all kinds of ambitious intentions, to go down the canal and run, lift, clean the car, etc. Instead, I got myself a nice cup of tea, popped on a movie, and started in on some review for my exam next week. It felt so nice to be all cozy on the sofa with my tea while the wind was blowing outside...that I stayed in my PJ's all day. Lazy, lazy, lazy. But oh, so nice.

And a good day for a check in:

1) 15 minutes on my projects: I certainly have started, but I definitely did not do 15 minutes per day on the projects around the house. I have a big collection of jars and bottles which I am planning on making Xmas gifts from. (more on that later) I at least have removed all of the labels from the jars this week. Which is ridiculously harder than it sounds. Some of those labels are glued down with some kind of super adhesive under every square inch of label space. But truthfully, most of my time is dedicated to review for my certification exam next weekend. I'll have more time for my projects after that.

2) Listening to those damn motivational CD's. Ok, I dug them out, put them in the car, and am 3 CD's worth into them. They are ok, but seriously not as motivational as the Red Hot Chili Peppers on a car ride home.

3) Simultaneously working on "3 Cups of Tea" and a "Shopaholic" book from my bookshelf.

4) Ok...here's my dilemma with this goal. My friend emailed me back and let me know he definitely did NOT want to do another marathon next year. I'm thinking, I would like to do one. But maybe not go down to Myrtle Beach by myself. So I gotta pick another marathon to do, maybe a little later so I can do some nice running, but not freeze my tuckas off running 16 mile runs in January. Plus, I didn't get off the sofa today.

5) Picked out a Turkey Trot to do with Dad.

6) Went to the movies. Check. I love the movies.

7) Haven't given a thought to new towels.

8) Studying hard for that certification. Its next week.

9) Love, love, love the new work schedule. Totally used to it in one week. Just have to work out how to utiluze that extra day to its full advantage.

And even though today was great, staying in my PJ's will NOT be in the cards for how to use that extra day each week from here on out.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

A decade of me

I got this idea from Brazen's blog and thought it looked fun:

A Decade Of Me:

1998: January I moved from Massachusetts to Oregon. My first straight-through solo cross country drive. I had accepted a job at the hostpital where my friend Diva worked, and would be living with her. Oh what fun! Only, after the 3000 mile drive, I showed up for what I thought was my first day of work for...another interview? Anyway, they kept calling me back for more and more interviews until I just sent out my resume and accepted a position with a per diem company. PT jobs were few and far between that year, so I did a lot of snowboarding and hiking, camping and slumming on friends' sofas. I finally got a 3 month stint in Washington at the end of the summer. I accepted a full time position and moved from Oregon to Washington.

1999: Good job, lots of friends, excellent gym, outdoor activities galore. I dated K, whom I had met in 1998. He dumped me after 4 months for a STRIPPER he met at a wet T shirt contest! Who the hell does that? (his loss) Later that year, I got together with PhysicsGeek and actually managed to drag him out into the sunshine every so often.

2000: Had a small melt-down from the whole 'turning 30' thing. This was the year I ran a marathon, went to Hawaii, learned Spanish, and got my advanced diving certification. It had gotten harder and harder to pull PhysicsGeek outside, so I had to let him go. I had a nice, casual, thing with 80'sHairGuy.

2001: With more jobs in my field opening up, I decided to start traveling again. I liked Washington, but had gotten too comfortable. I could see myself waking up 10 years later with no idea where the time went. So I took off for California. I was in the San Francisco Bay area and I met M. In the late spring, my contract ended and I ended up in Bakersfield, CA. M and I spent every weekend driving to see one another. I went back to Massachusetts for the summer (solo cross country trip southern route).I missed M like crazy. 6 weeks after 9/11, I was on a cross country flight back to California while my jeep was shipped.

2002: Spent half the year in San Fran, the other half north of Napa in Clearlake. My life revolved around working, seeing M, and planning trips back east to see the family. Went to the winter olympics in Salt Lake City. It was awesome.

2003: Still in Clearlake. M had bought me a guitar for Christmas and I was learning to play it. We spent weekends hiking, camping, watching movies, and playing guitars together. Climbed Mt. Shasta. In the fall, I moved closer to M, back to the Bay Area, in South San Francisco.

2004: Good job, lots of friends, close to M, close to the city. I took a permanent job with the company I was contracting for. I had to get my own place (rather than company housing I had been living in). M and I went apartment hunting and he helped me to furnish the place. Life is good.

2005: My company lost the contract at the facility I was working at, so I moved to another closer to my apartment. M was working nights, I was working days, and every weekend was some new adventure. My life was filled with work, guitar lessons, fitness boot camp after work, friends, and of course, M.

2006: I loved my life, but I was homesick. I had a neice who didn't know who I was. She was afraid of me. M and I had talked about moving back east for some time. He missed the east coast, too. In August, I made the move back home, the same week as 7 other of my California friends (including Nerd). (Solo cross country drive middle route) M was supposed to follow, we just didn't have a set timeline. He came to see me in September. I went to see him in December. I moved into my loft apartment at J and K's.

2007: Troubled times with me and M. He cancelled out on planned trips. He didn't go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans with me, and was upset that I still went with me friends. Went to San Fran in May for Bay to Breakers and reconciled things with M. He started a job search for Massachusetts. June: M called off the job search and broke up with me over the phone. Haven't spoken to him since. The summer sucked. Saw Van Halen live for the 16th time (with Nerd). Started training for a marathon.

2008: Started blogging with monthly goals. Ran a marathon in February. Went to the Caribbean in April. Did Bay to Breakers in May. Started doing triathlons in June. Hooked up with Nerd in July. Got nominated for a work award in August. No longer feel like 10 years could go by without knowing where it went. No longer pining away for M. Took me a long time to get back to being the person I was back in 1998.

Thanks to the blogging community who have helped me in that journey back to myself.

Friday, November 7, 2008

the most beautiful spot on earth

Today was my first Friday off in my new four day work week. I love my new work schedule! Going in two hours early really isn't that big a deal. But getting one extra day a week for ME is a HUGE deal.

Its amazing how productive you can be when you have nothing you need to do and nowhere you need to go. I got all my laundry done, cleaned the bathroom, cleaned out the fridge, studied a couple hours for my exam next Saturday, paid my bills, sent a couple emails that I hadn't gotten around to, returned the bottles, bought a couple Christmas presents, swept out the garage, went to the gym, and made dinner for J and K. I feel great.

The best part of the day, though, wasn't the extra rest. It wasn't the crazy productivity. It was how beautiful the day was. I came out of the store at one point and literally caught my breath. The leaves were brilliant, the air was warm. It was slightly foggy and there was a mist hanging over the trees, muting the outline of the distant trees, changing the colors to a more muted hue. The air smelled like fallen leaves, rain, and woodfires.

Several years ago, a friend of a friend took us up a hill in Texas to show us what he described as "the most beautiful spot on earth". At the top of the hill, we were treated to a view of a landfill on one side and military housing on the other. At the time, I figured he had just flipped his lid. He usually lived just outside Nashville, Tennesee; where I would have whole heartedly agreed with his opinion of "the most beautiful spot one earth." But the hill by the landfill? Not so much.

I have driven through places where I had to pull the car over and just stare or else I would have driven off the road, I was so distracted by the beauty (Boone, NC). I have hiked through places that I knew deep down were created to be sacred places (Olympic National Park, WA). I have stood in spots where I was so overcome that tears streamed down my face (Sequoia National Park, CA). Yet I could never wrap my mind around the idea that a landfill could be somebody's favorite spot on earth.

Today, I finally understood. Because for one brief moment, looking across the mall parking lot at the autumn leaves and the mist, I found myself in the most beautiful spot on earth.